Scientists working under the project name Bake in Space are dedicated to addressing the scientific and technical challenges relating to the production of fresh bread in space.
The team is attempting to develop a crumb-less bread that astronauts can bake and eat in space. They believe that this could be a huge breakthrough in feeding astronauts while they are on missions. According to their website, this is important because, “Besides a source for nutrition, the smell of fresh bread evokes memories of general happiness and is an important psychological factor.”
The bread they’ve chosen is a German bread roll, and the company will experiment by sending equipment and technology to the International Space Station with astronaut Alexander Gerst, who’s heading to the ISS in April or May of 2018. This experiment could provide them with a satisfying and nutritious alternative to dehydrated astronaut food.
Because of the limitations of space, ovens cannot operate at more than 250 watts, about 1/10th of the power of a normal oven here on Earth. The scientists are exploring vacuum baking, which would allow the bread to rise at lower temperatures.
A top issue is actually making the bread chewy and palatable. “This is the biggest challenge," says Florian Stukenborg, the scientist in charge of the dough.